With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd, and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin August 24th.
IOC Makes Offer of Medical Help During Tokyo Games
As Japan continues to push back against hosting the Olympic Games later this summer, the International Olympic Committee has made the offer of medical assistance during the Games.
With just over 60 days left until the start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo following their year long delay, doctors in Japan have begun speaking out against the risk that the gathering of thousands of athletes in Japan’s capital city poses to the population. As the rate of covid cases multiplied by a factor of six across the country over the last two months, over 6,000 doctors organized together to urge that the Games be called off.
A letter from the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga read, “We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games.”
In response, the IOC offered the country the possibility of adding additional medical personnel as part of national committees that will be traveling to the city. The suggestion was made at the final coordination commission meeting that took place on Wednesday as final plans for the Games were made.
“For obvious reasons, we cannot give them every detail yet, but the most important principle is very clear: The Olympic village is a safe place and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 will be organised in a safe way. To accomplish this, we are now fully focused on the delivery of the Olympic Games, we are working hard so the athletes can make their dream a reality after all their hard work over so many years with all their perseverance. To contribute to this, the IOC has offered to the organising committee to have additional medical personnel as part of the NOC delegations to support the medical operations and the strict implementation of the COVID-19 countermeasures in the Olympic village and in the Olympic venues.”
As part of the suggestion made by IOC president Thomas Bach, medical staff from countries travelling to the Games would handle all necessary preventive measures within all Olympic venues, reducing the need for assistance from Japanese doctors. Just a few weeks ago, the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee landed itself in hot water after requesting that hundred of nurses volunteer their services throughout the course of the Games.
World Record Holder David Rudisha To Miss Tokyo Olympics
After setting the world record in the 800 meter run at the 2012 Olympic Games and repeating as the champion in the event in 2016, David Rudisha of Kenya has been forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a hamstring injury.
According to Michel Boeting, who acts as Rudisha’s agent, he is contemplating retirement due to the injury, with his only motivation for continuing training having been the Olympics. While he has continued to train since the 2016 Games, he has not raced in international competition since 2017.
The Triple Jump Favorite in Tokyo, Christian Taylor Tears Achilles Just Two Months from Games
Joining Rudisha in missing the Games this summer is Christian Taylor, one of the top track and field athletes from the United States.
One of the greatest triple jumpers of all time, Taylor has stood on the top of the podium for the event twice at Olympic Games, as well as four times at World Championships. While competing in the Czech Republic this week, he tore his Achilles, ruining his chances of competition until at least 2022.
This isn’t the first time that the jumper has undergone serious adversity in his illustrious career. Following his gold medal in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he was diagnosed with a degenerative tissue disorder in his right leg, the leg that served as his primary means of jumping during competition. Instead of retirement, he switched legs, quickly achieving the same results as he had prior to the diagnosis. Following the leg shift, he would go on to claim multiple world titles and his second Olympic gold.
Olympic Gold Medalist and Activist Lee Evans Dies at 74
A former world record holder in the 400 meter, Evans became famous for not only his performance on the track but his social advocacy as well.
Evans competed at the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City. At those Games, he claimed the gold medal in the 400 meters, en route to becoming the first man to dip below 44 seconds in the event.
Outside of his athletic performance at the Games, he also was a part of protests that saw Tommie Smith and John Carlos get kicked out of the competition for raising their fists on the podium. While that pair chose to take a slightly more extreme approach to their demonstration, raising their fists over their head on the podium, Evans chose to instead wear a simple black beret, showing support for the Black Panther Party and other civil rights organizations. Evans suffered a stroke while training athletes in Nigeria last week, passing away before he could be flown to the United States for further medical treatment.